NEWS14 November 2011

GfK posts Q3 sales and income rise ahead of CEO swap

Europe Financials

GERMANY— GfK has posted third-quarter sales up 5% to €338.5m and nine-month revenue up 7.1% to €998.5m ahead of the arrival of new CEO Matthias Hartmann (pictured).

Adjusted operating income for the quarter dipped 3.2% to €47m but was up 8.7% to €130.9m for the January to September period.

The firm said Q3 income growth was the result of solid performances in its custom research and retail and technology sectors, but media income was “considerably impacted” by a €4.5m write-down – the result of an impairment test relating to software used to measure TV ratings. Costs were also up on expenses tied to the implementation of the new ‘Own the Future’ strategy and a €2.9m fee for the early termination of a management board member’s contract, thought to be that of CEO Klaus Wübbenhorst.

Wübbenhorst announced his resignation in February, saying he would not renew his contract when it ran out in July 2012. He is now set to leave the company on 1 December – the date of Hartmann’s arrival.

In its nine-month results, GfK said it saw “considerable sales growth” in the custom research business with revenue up 6.9% to €598m. Telecoms, FMCG and automotive sectors were particularly strong as were most geographies, apart from North America where sales were down year-on-year. Division income was up 15.4% to €38.7m.

Retail and technology sector sales were up 10.4% to €299m, with Germany, Asia and the Pacific region making the highest contributions, while income climbed 15.9% to €92.1m.

Finally, media sector sales fell 0.4% to €98m due to the negative impact of currency effects, but the firm said that on an organic basis, sales growth was “particularly high” in Germany and North America. Income, which was affected by the €4.5m writedown mentioned earlier, totalled €6.4m.